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Editorial News of Friday, 13 July 2007

Source: Public Agenda

Editorial: A little prayer for Akosmobo Dam

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The last news many Ghanaians would like to hear is the shutting down of the Akosombo Dam due to the low level of water.

But the possibility of the VRA shutting down Ghana’s economic heartbeat next week is clearly written on the wall, unless there is divine intervention. The precarious situation of the dam was on Wednesday confirmed by Mr. Kwesi Amoako, the Plant Manager of VRA . According to him there’s been a 0.03 daily drop in the water level for sometime now, which left the dam with just 235.24 feet as at Wednesday, July 10. See lead story.

At this level, the water can only turn two turbines, which has been the case for almost a year now. The minimum operating level of the dam is 240 feet; below this, the dam is at worse, operating at what Mr. Amoako called “the extreme minimum.”

At the current level of 235.24, the dam is operating at its lowest level since 1984, when the water dropped to 235.76. Unlike in 1984 when there was a countrywide drought, this time the rains are falling alright, but the inflows are still too low for the dam to operate at full capacity.

Viewed against the fact that the dam had the capacity to generate 1,020 megawatts, its current generation of a mere 270 megawatts with two turbines should be a source of concern to all well meaning Ghanaians.

Under normal circumstances, there should be signs of a turnaround by mid June and early July, but the fact that the dam is still losing 0.03 feet of water each day shows there is something fundamentally wrong.

Could it be that the construction of a dam on the Bagri River by Burkina Faso is the cause of Aksombo’s woes? If that is the case Ghana needs to engage Burkina Faso to map out a strategy for mutual use of the White and Black Volta Rivers, which draw their water from the Bagri River.

It is not for nothing that the Akosombo Dam, arguably the most famous landmark of Ghana’s independence has been embossed on the back of the One Ghana cedi note. It was due to its immense contribution to Ghana’s economic growth. But as things stand now, the significance of Akosombo, in the national development agenda is beginning to wane.

This is why we must put partisan politics aside and join hands to find a solution to the declining levels of water in the dam. Perhaps, a little prayer for the survival of the dam will do. With God all things are possible.

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